Tuesday 1 October 2019 12:25 pm

John Lewis to axe a third of senior managers to save £100m

The John Lewis Partnership is slashing its senior management layer by one third in a shock £100m bid to cut costs at the struggling retailer.

Around 75 senior managers will get the axe from the current total of 225 in head office, John Lewis said.

As part of the shake-up, the embattled chain also revealed that the boss of Waitrose, Rob Collins, is stepping down next year.

It is also set to merge the boards for the John Lewis department store chain and Waitrose, comprising seven new director roles and helmed by a chair.

The major management overhaul will come into effect early next year under the new leadership of Sharon White, the current Ofcom boss who is replacing Sir Charlie Mayfield as chairman.

There will no longer be divisional boards or separate managing directors for John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners.

“This is an extremely bold move. The merging of both businesses signals a single-minded focus on delivering cost-saving efficiencies, improving productivity and creating a harmonised proposition to leverage value from their customer base,” said Richard Lim, chief executive of Retail Economics.

Mayfield said in a statement: “Although there will be little or no disruption to our shops or websites in the near term, there will be considerable change in many other areas of the Partnership as we bring the two businesses much closer together.

“These are necessary and these changes will be difficult for some of our partners and we will implement as carefully and sensitively as we can.”

The latest cost-cutting drive comes as John Lewis battles a number of challenging conditions on the high street, from higher fixed costs to fierce competition.

Last month the firm revealed its first ever half-year loss, blaming lower sales of homewares and electrical goods as well as rising costs.